Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
For white conservatives, accepting that the United States wouldn't exist without slavery would mean acknowledging that the Founders were not the creators of an infallible civic religion, which sets the limits on all modern claims for justice. It would mean that liberty was, in practice, as much a matter of exclusion as inclusion, and that success and prosperity owe more to centuries of exploitation than to God's blessing of an exceptional people.

Giants 🤝 Strippers
Grinding men's bones to make their bread

Tfw it takes you five decades to notice Mediterranean means the middle of the world.
August 19, 2019
3 bits from Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" In some ways the book was an amazing expansion of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl" Trope (though better more self-actualized) if a wee bit boojie.

(Guess I should see the movie when it comes out...)
While we're on the subject, please indulge me while I tell you the story of the first and last time Bee ever claimed she was bored. Bernadette and I were driving Bee and a friend, both preschoolers, to a birthday party. There was traffic. Grace said, "I'm bored."
"Yeah," Bee mimicked, "I'm bored."
Bernadette pulled the car over, took off her seat belt, and turned around. "That's right," she told the girls. "You're bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be."
"OK," Bee said quietly.
DR. KURTZ: OK. So. It's important to acknowledge there's a lot of hurt. But let's stay in the here and now. Elgin, why don't you try expressing your love for Bernadette. You had mentioned what a wonderful mother--

BRANCH: And you're back there in your Airstream lying to me left and right, outsourcing your life, our lives, to India? Don't I get a vote in that? You're afraid of getting seasick when we're crossing the Drake Passage? There's a way to deal with it. It's called a scopolamine patch. You don't arrange to get four wisdom teeth removed and lie to me and Bee about it. People die getting their wisdom teeth pulled. But you'll do it just to avoid small talk with strangers? What the hell is Bee going to think when she hears this? And all because you're a "failure"? How about a wife? How about a mother? What happened to coming to your husband? Why do you have to spill your guts out to some architect you haven't seen for twenty years? God, you're sick. You make me sick, and you're sick.

DR. KURTZ: Another example of love is a hug.
I giggled out loud at that.
Halfway through this speech, it dawned on me that Ellen Idelson was a contractor. She was performing contractor Kabuki. It's a ritual in which (a) the contractor explains in great detail the impossibility of the job you've asked him to do, (b) you demonstrate extreme remorse for even suggesting such a thing by withdrawing your request, and (c) he tells you he's found a way to do it, so (d) you owe him one for doing what he was hired to do in the first place.

The canonical store of the 80s: I remember buying a tank top/overshirt combo kind of similar to that...

Just saving this tweet about the connection beteen the El Paso shooter's manifesto and what we get from other conservative tweeters inclduding the president
Last night we finally got around to watching the end of the first (and hopefully not last) season of Tuca & Bertie. It's an outrage this wasn't picked up for a second season - even though almost every animated series gets two seasons out of the gate, this one was on a special probation or some such crap.

Besides being woman made and confronting some issues in a fun but serious way, the first few episodes especially took advantage of being animation to make a surreal landscape and really have fun with the form.

I hope some other network picks this up.


Why These Social Networks Failed So Badly - myspace and vine are the ones I think are the biggest losses. Along with the blogosphere in general.

I used to draw robots! I'm not sure if my current pen and crosshatch choices go well it though...

the problem with having a giant light bulb for a brain is how thin and delicate the glass is. and how i got hammers for hands.

a snail really do be like [scooting his slimy lil way across the garden with dogged determination, resolute in his understanding that the destination lies in the journey itself]

Relying on your intuition is kind of like assuming the information at the first google hit is right.
August 17, 2019
On FB my old manager Kevin asked
Why do we ikea? I mean really. Why?
This was my response:
I think there are 3 reasons to dislike IKEA:
  1. the cultural triumph of mediocrity, of not great materials furniture not built for the long haul
  2. the disastrously wearing and psychologically manipulative experience of the IKEA store, its rat maze and sometimes huuuuuuge lines
  3. the torment of assembling this shitty flatpack, and how failing to notice one little tiny dot representing a screw hole and the only asymmetry of the piece means you have to undo like 20 minutes of work
But for those, I say:
  1. IKEA is also a victory for quality of thoughtful design and simplicity, not to mention affordability.
  2. The IKEA store is kind of an aspirational wonderland, tantalizing inspirations for a more elegant and less cluttered life
  3. People feel a bit more connected to furniture they assembled - your work went into it, vs just you or some hired blokes wrestling in a piece that then just sits there
I dunno. I dig it! I remember a story from growing up - Salvation Army Officer families generally live in pre-furnished houses or apartments, so there's often little choice about furnishings. One time, though, our quarters were newly established, and my parents got the chance to tasteful scandinavian design stuff. But word was the people who moved in after had a tendency to be super rough with the new stuff, but mostly so they could replace it with the same old colonial crap.

(speaking of kinetic typography videos, the one I saw for Cee Lo Green's F*** You still stands out)
Today someone said "what are linked lists for" and I said "technical interviews, mainly" and nobody reacted in any way and I still think about that.
In retrospect I think it's time to question Billy Joel's claim that his generation didn't start the fire

Doing old Blog Grooming I found a 2006 article 'Sleeping on it' best for complex decisions - way back when I quoted
Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with.
The thing is, I still think it’s a mistake to conflate that sense of satisfaction with objective correctness. That unconscious overnight process is not amenable to inspection or rational confirmation, and I think is pretty much at the mercies of every ingrained prejudice and presumption we’ve internalized.

It’s like that muscle memory thing… to perform a skill at high level it's crucial that you impress the movements into your subconscious - but it’s not so good to drill and drill and practice if you’re just letting your poor form or style become a more deeply ingrained habit. It's the same for athletic feats as it is thinking.
There's one thing computing teaches you, and that's that there's no point to remembering *everything*.
Douglas Coupland
I recorded that 17 years ago, with the comment "I'm trying to utilize this statement as encouragement to discard all these old files that are only slightly interesting in a 'passing interests and random activities of Kirk in the late 1990s'". I'm still not sure I got the knack of that.
I feel I can tell I am becoming an old by my lack of enthusiasm for unisex one-piece-looking rompers a few folks at my company's shore side outing are wearing.
August 14, 2019
Doing old blog maintenance, I ran into this Valentine's note to me, written early in the trajectory arc of a long romance:
I wonder if I love you too much. I guess when people say "too much" what they really mean is "more than you." Probably just paranoia. It's just hitting me how much you've come to mean to me in so short a time, and what it would mean to lose you.
Maybe it wasn't just paranoia. I worry I've never loved as vibrantly as other folks seem to.

I don't love people for their Nouns, who they "really are" - maybe because I can't bear witness to their inner life! I love people's Verbs - interactions that outsiders (such as me) can observe. Actions people perform in the public sphere have their bona fides of objective reality, and so I can know my feelings are rooted in truth.

But is that love of other folks, then? Or just admiration?

As a young teen, I figured out that I couldn't given free rein to my desires. Lust might lead to STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Hunger might lead to me becoming fat(ter). And worst of all: acting on unfiltered feelings - lust, anger, greed, wrath, pride, envy, gluttony - put me at risk for eternal hellfire! Yeah, God could forgive, but repeated transgressions (the verb) brought the veracity of the repentance (the noun) into question. And which of those temporary pleasures would be worth eternal punishment?

When I do try to survey my own emotional landscape, I'm appalled at how ego-driven so much of it is; my obsession of the importance of objective (yet never fully and confidently known) truths leaves me hungry for external validation - and so I like how reading books tells me I'm smart, playing in bands tells me I'm talented, playing video games tells me I'm empowered, at least in those virtual microcosms. (I don't think I'm alone in hunger, especially in folks raised as boys - not that I think girls have it better. But some of the most damning things to say about a dude is that he's a bad driver, or not funny, or not competent in bed - many men want their ego stroked as much as any of their other parts.)

So, love from other folks: am I seeking love? Or just admiration?

And to top it off - since the interpretation of objective reality is a group project, I can't put too much weight on what feelings I do find arising in me. I'm not such a martyr that I have to ignore my own preferences, but I am compelled to evaluate my behavior based on what seems good for the group - or in the case of romance, the couple - not just me.

So I dunno. Is it this complicated for everyone?
I had a dream where - I think - people were using certain foodstuffs as power system. I woke up enough to write "the exothermic aesthetic of yellow rice and yogurt sauce"
Quick question,
If "illegals" are lazy freeloaders just leaching off the system,
Why does ICE always raid workplaces?
Steve A Mattison